Basic Management Skills
Clarifying what you expect from your team
As a manager or team leader, it’s really important that everyone who reports to you understands their role, their responsibilities and what you expect from them.
Clarifying roles and responsibilities will help your team or business to perform effectively, minimise confusion and energise people.
If you are a new manager or new to a team you need to be clear what is expected of you and your team, and the contribution you all make to the overall business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your role, especially when you start.
As a manager in post for a while, our day to day activities can overtake us, overwhelm our intentions and sometimes move us away by degrees from where we are meant to be.
Don’t leave it to your review to find out whether your performance is seen as satisfactory, put in the building blocks which can really help your team to shine.
You probably have job descriptions for you and your team, you may even know where they are!
How often do you and your team refer to them? Don’t just rely on this piece of paper in a file somewhere. A simple question to your team members can help you communicate your priorities and help them to focus on what’s important. That helps you manage their work and their individual performance, and that’s part of basic management responsibility.
Don’t be put off by the simplicity of the question, simple doesn’t mean ineffective, in most cases it can be quite the opposite. Ask the key management question
- what are you paid to do?
The answers to this simple question is one of the key elements in developing performance.
Where there is a lack of understanding about roles and responsibilities, confusion reigns, and when people are confused their energy levels drop.
It’s not a productive or great place to work. So here are some steps to help you get clarity.
Firstly, you have to be clear what your line manager expects from you and your team, and make sure there are no discrepancies between your thinking and your bosses.
If he or she is very busy, or you see them rarely you may not have the luxury of sitting down to discuss this, be proactive and write your own list, prioritise it to reflect the needs of your part of the organisation as you see them.
This is a great place to start a conversation with your manager, and most senior managers we work with would be thrilled if their managers came to them to open a discussion like this.
Once you have that clarified, then you can begin to ask your individual team members the same question. Ask them to write down what they think they are paid to do, and do the same for their role. You can then meet with them to discuss the answers. You’ll be surprised what this simple exercise can throw up.
You now have a good base from which to build a conversation about your expectations as a manager, while focusing an individual on the key parts of their role, the contribution they make to the team, its performance and the overall organisation or business. The conversation builds understanding and provides focus for you both.
Failing that, make sure you recruit people into your team with telepathetic abilities!! Remember confusion saps energy, so where you can bring clarity and focus you will bring energy.
Energising performance is one of the basic management skills that will serve your management career.
Let us know how you get on.